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spring break

Great wolf lodge, Wisconsin Dells, Mitsubishi, family Spring Break

Last Thursday our family spring break started. The Big Guy, the girls and myself jumped into the Rally Red Mitsubishi Outlander that I was driving for the week and headed to my mom’s house in Chicago. I was excited because after a week trapped in the house with a husband with bronchitis and two very cabin-fevered little girls, the open road was exactly what we needed to blow the stink off spring break.

Outlander, Great wolf lodge, Wisconsin Dells, Mitsubishi, family Spring Break

We loaded up the Outlander with all of our goodies for the weekend, including the girls and their favorite stuffed animals, bathing suits for days and all the pillows in the house. I was impressed the sporty little Outlander held it all, with plenty of legroom. Those adjustable seats in the second row really made traveling comfy for the girls. Then we made our way west for a pit stop in Chicago before picking up Grandma and heading to the Great Wolf Lodge in Wisconsin Dells to celebrate 3 of the cousins’ birthdays. What can I say, apparently we Cruz girls are affectionate in the late summer months.

Great wolf lodge, Wisconsin Dells, Mitsubishi, family Spring Break

We loved driving the Outlander because it drove sporty, fast and handled well. I loved the built in GPS. My only issue was that you couldn’t operate it while the vehicle was in drive. I know it’s a great safety feature just a little frustrating when you don’t know ahead of time. I also loved that it only took $30 to fill it up.

Great wolf lodge, Wisconsin Dells, Mitsubishi, family Spring Break

The first day of our road trip included a stop at, my sister, Bertie’s house to discuss wedding plans. I’m the matron of honor and love being able to help plan her big day. My girls played with my nephew, my husband and soon to be brother-in-law bonded, and we girls made wedding playlists, discussed flowers, hair styles, make-up and tuxedos. To make the night perfect, my mom ordered our favorite hometown pizza. It may sound boring but we cherish these moments because there are never enough of them.

Great wolf lodge, Wisconsin Dells, Mitsubishi, family Spring Break

I come from a big family of six brothers and sisters and I miss seeing my sisters everyday. Sisters are the built in best friends and I miss girl talk with them and raising our kids together. Being at my sister’s house hanging out, planning her wedding and hearing all the love and laughter fill the house made this one of the best spring breaks ever for me.

Great wolf lodge, Wisconsin Dells, Mitsubishi, family Spring Break

The next morning, we loaded my mom into the Outlander and made our way to the Great Wolf Lodge in Wisconsin Dells to meet my other sister, Mellie and her family. We’d never been before but this is how the kids wanted to celebrate their birthdays and who am I to stand in the way of kids’ birthday wishes?

Great wolf lodge, Wisconsin Dells, Mitsubishi, family Spring Break

We arrived at the Great Wolf Lodge. The girls nearly bolted out of the Outlander headed straight for the waterpark. As soon as you walk through the doors, you are immediately aware that you are in a kid-friendly, nature themed lodge. We headed to our room and were welcomed to the hotel with a few surprises to help the birthday kids celebrate their birthday in style. The kid’s received Paw Passes from the hotel. I would highly recommend that if you ever go to the Great Wolf Lodge you get one for your kids.

It included fun thing for the kids to do like a MagicQuest Game, a MagicQuest wand (to play the game), A Great Wolf Creation animal (think Build a bear but much softer), Paw Points arcade card with 20 points, 12 oz. Mike and Ike Candy Cup, Great Wolf Lodge swim goggles, Glitz Glitter Tattoo, personalized Leather bracelet, Clubhouse crew adventure game and more.

MagicQuest, Great wolf lodge, Wisconsin Dells, Mitsubishi, family Spring Break

This was nothing we had anticipated but I assure you, we will never go there again without getting one of these passes. This made the experience next level. After hours swimming and riding water slides, the tornado being our family’s favorite, we were able to let the kid’s wind down playing MagicQuest. Then the next afternoon, they got to hit the arcade and gift shop to collect all of their souvenirs.

Great wolf lodge, Wisconsin Dells, Mitsubishi, family Spring Break

Know what the best part of the entire vacation was? Hanging out with my mom, my sisters and talking, our guys bonding and the cousins giggling and getting to spend real quality time together. That truly is the priceless part. I can’t wait to do it again. We took plenty of photos and video, including one of those cheesy vintage photos and we had a blast doing it.

Great wolf lodge, Wisconsin Dells, Mitsubishi, family Spring Break

Do you ever travel with your extended family? If you don’t you definitely should. I know it’s hard organizing a vacation with multiple families but it is also the stuff memories are made of. My girls will never forget this trip because they got to share it with their cousin.

Disclosure: I was provided the Mitsubishi Outlander to drive for the week by STI and The Great Wolf Lodge provided Paw Passes for my children but all opinions about our family spring break are my own.


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spring break, budget, kids, Land of Nod

Our life is always hectic and spring break is one of those times of year that I prefer to NOT go running off on a family vacation to some place awesome like Disney World because, you know, the rest of the world is doing that. I just want to sleep in and enjoy not having to be anywhere. I want to actually enjoy just being and giving our minds a break.

I like to take the time to relax and enjoy my kids. Granted, we get bored so we need to do more than just sit around staring at one another and it wouldn’t be right to make the kids clean the entire break, ahem, right? Yeah, no. I know it wouldn’t be right.

So here are a few budget friendly ideas for your next spring break.

spring break, budget, kids, Land of Nod

Indoor camping

There are so many great things you can do just by staying put. We live in the suburbs so first on our list is indoor camping! The girls got an amazing tent, constellation nightlight and sleeping bags from the Land of Nod this Christmas and I know they love camping out. So, one night (or maybe two) this spring break we will pretend we are camping. I will put up the giant tent, lay out the sleeping bags, we will have hot dogs on the grill and s’mores ( in the microwave because it’s snowing today), tell some ghost stories and let our imaginations go wild. This is one of the perks of small children, those imaginations can take you absolutely everywhere without ever leaving the house. The best part is that all play houses and tents are on sale for 20% off through March 23rd.

Local waterpark or hotel

For the last weekend of spring break we are surprising the girls, meeting their cousins and spending a couple days at the Great Wolf Lodge. We’ve never been so we are super excited and by arriving early, staying only one night and leaving late, we are maximizing the fun on a minimal budget. Also, I searched out an awesome discount and that made it even more affordable. We live in the Midwest and unless we drive or fly a few hundred miles south, we’re going to be surrounded by snow and/or wintery weather mix. I hate the cold but if we go to an indoor water it is a balmy 80 degrees. Now, I was not a fan of indoor waterparks until I had children. I prefer the beach but I have found that at the waterparks, it’s always warm and there are so many different slides, pools and activities that no one ever tells me, “I’m BORED!” You may even want to meet up with a group. We are meeting my sisters and their kids and husbands and celebrating a couple cousins’ birthdays while there. We can’t wait! The 7-year-old is marking her calendar. For an added bonus, take Grandma and relax a little. If you want to get out of the house but don’t want the hassle of added cost of a waterpark, you can always just stay at a local hotel with a pool. The kids will love it.

Visit Family or Friends

If you are watching your budget, why not go visit family or friends? You save yourself the cost of a hotel, you get to spend time reconnecting with the people that you love the most and your kids have a blast hanging out in a new city. I’m lucky my family lives in Chicago and it’s only a 3-hour drive, so it’s an easy couple day trip and the city is full of places to go, foods to eat and people to see that my children don’t get to usually do so everyone wins.

Explore Your own City

Whether you live in a big city or a small one, there are always things to do. Check out a new restaurant that you’ve never tried or visit a boutique or shop that you’ve never been into. There are all kinds of hidden gems that most cities have and no one has the time to try new things because we always do what we know because it’s easy. For instance, there is a wonderful art museum right across the street from my daughter’s ballet school. We never go in because we are always going to ballet. During spring break, we are going to check it out and try a new restaurant downtown. If you want to kick it up a notch, get a play date group and do local scavenger hunt in your own city.

Take a vacation from your regular life

If you ask me, the best thing about spring break is not having to be anywhere so why not just relax. Have a pajama movie day. Spend all day coloring in a coloring book with your kids. Have an at home spa day or give each other makeovers. Just do something that you don’t get to do every day like breakfast for dinner or pizza for breakfast. Most of all just try to enjoy your time with your kids because, as I keep reminding myself, they are only little for a little while.

Bonus: We are getting to test drive a Mitsubishi Outlander for the week, so I’ll be completely taking a vacation from my regular life. Can’t wait to tell you all about it.

Disclosure: While all opinions are my own, I was provided product for review purposed from The Land of Nod.

What is your family doing this spring break?


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